Since the Brumadinho dam collapse in 2019, the Council on Ethics has engaged in several global initiatives together with key stakeholders to put pressure on the mining industry. The activities include investor calls as well as co-development of a new global tailings facilities standard and data portal.
From the 2019 annual report
Four Investor Roundtables have been held in London, which culminated with the Mining & Tailings Safety Summit at the end of October, all meetings involving global mining companies, government regulators of mining, UN experts and global mining experts – both professional and academic as well as representatives from the investment, banking and insurance sectors.
New global tailings facilities management standard
In response to the call, the mining industry represented by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), UN Environment (UNEP) and UN Principles for Responsible Investment (represented by John Howchin of the Council and Adam
Matthews of the Church of England Pensions Board) co-convened a process – The Global Tailings Review (GTR) to develop a new global standard for tailings facilities management. The co-convenors agreed terms of reference and appointed Professor Bruno Oberle (former Swiss Environment Minister) as the independent Chair of the GTR. Professor Oberle has chosen a panel of experts and a wider advisory group and is now consulting widely on the draft Standard. The new standard is planned to be put in place during 2020.
Global Data Portal to support investor analysies
The Investor Initiative has contacted 726 listed mining as well as oil and gas companies and asked for facility-by-facility disclosures of all tailings dams within their operations. Like the Standard, the disclosure cuts across jurisdictions and geographies, and provides investors (and other stakeholders) with better “decision material” information. The Initiative is also involved in establishing an independent Global Data Portal that will collate the responses in a way that is accessible, and will allow further analysis (e.g. by academics, investors, regulators etc.).
The data portal has been developed with the support of UNEP, the Council and the Church of England Pensions Board. Professor Elaine Baker of the University of Sydney and GRID-Arendal (independent Norwegian research institute) have led the academic analysis. The first version of the portal was released on the 24th of January 2020 to commemorate the Brumadihno accident.